Sunday 19 May 2019

1. My Kilimanjaro Training - 2 months in....Gyming it up and Richmond Park

Behold the almighty Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest dormant volcano in Tanzania standing at 5,895 metres above sea level and my next adventure. 

In October 2019, I will attempt to climb to the top of 'The Roof of Africa' over 8 days using the Lemosho route with a full team of porters, other climbers and guides. This is a personal physical and mental challenge I've always wanted to attempt and I'm sure will be the toughest and greatest adventure yet. 

I sometimes wonder what on earth I've got myself into!

As well as being up for the challenge that lies ahead for me, this month is M.E awareness month and I'm also attempting to raise awareness and funding for Action for M.E a charity that helps my sisters illness M.E or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a debilitating immune illness that robs sufferers of energy to live a normal life. 

So...if I want to get to the top of this mountain I would feel a whole lot better for this epic challenge if I did some training, well no, alot of training. I'm someone who likes to be fighting fit and confident to take on these monster things so with blooming Spring days now upon us and with alot of advice and guidance on how to train for Kilimanjaro, I've started my journey a whole 7 months before....

.......with the gym.

Yep starting closer to home and now it is my second home. I'm not really a gym bunny but I've joined the gym for 6 months - sweating it out 3 - 4 mornings a week making use of the abundance of techy equipment, stairmasters, steppers and treadmills and any other equipment that looks like it could be helpful in getting me fit for the long haul plod up the mountain. Also, its easier to do the gym training nice and early in the week when I can't get 'boot time' hill walking until the weekends.  

I'm pretty sure I get funny looks from everyone in the gym but I train with 3 litres of water in a backpack and breathe through a sports mask where you can adjust the air resistance to make me breath harder whilst I'm working out. The altitude on Kilimanjaro will make the climb tough so I'm trying to put the odds in my favour a little bit by training with this mask, even though it can get a bit sweaty and uncomfortable (makes my nose itch sometimes!). If it will work who knows. but lets just say my t-shirts by the end of it are slightly on the wet side. If you have the budget though and the time, there's the Altitude Centre in London which will set you back about £400. I'm going to hope I can just acclimatise slowly on the mountain with the advice I've been given, 'take it slow, drink lots of water and breathe through your nose' - fine by me!   

Boot Time - Richmond Park 

So just training in the gym for Kilimanjaro will not do, a mountain in Africa will not be like the gym! I also have to do 'boot time' or 'boot miles' two dry weekends a month to break in my new boots that I got from Cotwolds Outdoor shop (Highly recommend them - they give a full foot, gait assessment and find your perfect 'solemate' in the perfect hiking boot, plus how to tie your laces properly!). Seriously they are a great shop for outdoor gear and even though my normal shoe size is a Size 6 - I'm a quantum leap of a 7.5 size in hiking boots!   

So to start off with I've done a few rounds of the 2,500 acres of the beautiful Richmond Park, the largest royal park in London (apparently you can see uninterrupted views of St Pauls Cathedral 12 miles away). The 10km is like a 2 out of 10 difficulty but there are hilly areas to start with and good for light walking in between the strenuous hikes. I started borrowing some hiking poles to help with balancing your weight and taking the strain off your knees but will get my own to train with and take out to Tanzania with me later. So, introduction to walking poles was a bit messy, trying to work out how to adjust them, hold them and constantly tripping over them working out how to use them. I've got months to practice how to get it right so it won't be a complete disaster. 

Deer are everywhere in Richmond Park! Most times I have been they are in their herds grazing looking very peaceful and quiet on the curving mounds and shelter of the Spring time woods - until they hear me clattering with my walking poles and clomping new boots. 

 First hill......its a start at least right?

It always feels like somebodies watching me.....

Spot the Easter bunny?

That's it from me so far with My Kilimanjaro training blog, I'll post about more of my hill walking adventures in my next blog. But another week another morning start in the gym!

Thanks alot for reading. if you would like to help me with my climb and wish me well, it would be awesome if you could please donate a little something on my Kilimanjaro Just Giving page to help me raise a bit of funding for Action for M.E so we can help those like my sister who have no energy to climb mountains. Any help would be massively appreciated!  

Thanks alot and maybe you'll get out for a nice walk one weekend to come this summer!


RealPeople. Real Disease. Real M.E 

#MEAwareness #RealME

Training Hike Distance - 6 Miles (10km) 

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